The day has arrived when we salute the women who play multiple roles of a mother, daughter, sister and leader and acknowledge her contributions, sacrifices and commitments and what better way than movies and our bundle of talented actresses to do so.
The word ‘woman’ brings to our mind sensual beauty, inner strength born to handle any situation and an epitome of perfection. Though women in Bollywood have somehow not been given their due credit or fair share of author-backed roles, fortunately, many strong willed filmmakers have been able to give us quality movies which are not all song and dance roles for women. We look at a few benchmark roles in women centric movies over the past few decades. Here are a few characters played by our leading ladies which have not been restricted to them being an eye or arm-candy, have rather broken fresh ground.

  1. VIDYA BALAN IN KAHAANI- Acting skills of Vidya Balan needs no introduction. This much-acclaimed Sujoy Ghosh film highlighted the inner strength of a woman. The film shows how a heavily pregnant protagonist -Vidya Balan goes on her mission with pure eagerness, commitment and vehemence. Bollywood had perhaps not portrayed such a character with immense never-say-die attitude, character, elan and power. Needless to say, the movie hit bull’s eye proving that good cinema and an actress par excellence- the only hero in the film can draw audiences to the theatre.
  2. SHABANA AZMI IN ARTH: A Mahesh Bhatt film, the off-beat, melodramatic saga was a slice of his personal life. The movie broke records and was the talking point everywhere possible. It showed the internal struggle of a women after a spineless man, a filmmaker husband with an extra-marital affair and it sees Shabana’s search for her identity, her character rises above the situation and leads an independent life. The movie wins her a national award, helps her establish herself as a mainstream actress. Shabana emerges a clear winner!
  3. TABU-ASTITVA: This bi-lingual masterpiece made in Hindi and Marathi, was critically acclaimed film from Mahesh Manjrekar’s household. The film revolved around the protagonist Tabu in search of her identity. The film liberates the woman from male chauvinism, to the point that the audiences sympathize with the character despite adultery. The film with stellar performance by Tabu, lived upto its title with grace and dignity!
  4. SEEMA BISWAS IN BANDIT QUEEN: This was a hard hitting and commendable movie, based on real-life bandit, Phoolan Devi, a must-watch storytelling by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. This gem from new age cinema had Seema playing her character effortlessly, from being a victim of physical abuse to leading a gang of men and taking her revenge. Well, Seema won a national award for her performance and this fiery feminist role seemed tailor made for her.
  5. RANI MUKHERJEE IN NO ONE KILLED JESSICA- Rani’s character Meera Gaiti was not once seen as weak, based on the real life story of model Jessica Lal, the movie showed a strong woman fight tirelessly for justice. Rani stole the show with their acting prowess. With this one, she won hearts as well as awards.
  6. ENGLISH VINGLISH- No Bollywood list is complete without a mention of Sri Devi. It just justifies the fact that after all these years, Sridevi still has it in her and can give the newbies a run for their money with her acting histrionics. Sri single-handedly carries the beautiful movie on her shoulders and depicts the journey of her transformation from a meek housewife to a confident English-speaking woman, all the way from Pune to NYC! The versatile actress effortlessly gets into the skin of the vulnerable yet determined skin of her character. A must-watch for the fine actress!
  7. QUEEN- A masterpiece from Kangana, she proved her mettle way earlier but this one won hearts straightaway! Her portrayal of a simple girl next door, from a timid girl, to her innocence with the little things that she does captures the beauty of the character. From not needing a man to go on a honeymoon, to choosing freedom over marriage, her new found care-a-damn attitude, and her journey is moving yet entertaining.
    8. PRIYANKA CHOPRA IN MARY KOM- PC is the life and soul as the wonder woman in the movie. Of course, when a movie about a five-time world boxing champion Mary Kom releases, you better not go wrong. Priyanka puts life into the role, her portrayal of a Manipuri girl- a young wife, a mother and a fighter Priyanka gave her blood and sweat to the movie much like her real life character. A meaty character and a deserving star we say!